The Red Sox looked into a long-term extension with Mookie Betts last winter, but both Betts and Xander Bogaerts are comfortable in year-to-year deals for now, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports. Betts is already making a nice sum in endorsement deals, so it perhaps isn’t surprising that he (and Bogaerts) are in no rush to pursue a multi-year contract. Bogaerts was arbitration-eligible for the first time last winter and is earning $4.5MM for 2017, while Betts will get his first run through the arb process this coming offseason, so while the price tags for both young stars will rise considerably, the Sox are still getting an overall bargain.
- There still haven’t been any talks about an extension between Carlos Santana and the Indians. One executive believes Santana can land four years and $60MM in free agency this winter.
- The Rays aren’t looking to sell, as they have a winning record and are in the thick of the AL East and wild card races. Tampa Bay has been constantly cited as a potential seller given their financial limitations, with pending free agent Alex Cobb reportedly a candidate to switch teams. Still, the Rays’ rotation has been thinned by Blake Snell’s demotion to the minors and Matt Andriese’s hip injury, so the club could hold off on any pitching decisions until closer to the deadline.
- The Rays made a “creative” offer to Jose Bautista last winter that could have become a three-year deal if all options had been exercised. The Rays were one of relatively few teams that were linked to Bautista (Heyman also mentions the Indians had interest) this winter, and ultimately, the slugger chose to stay in Toronto for more guaranteed money. Bautista is earning $18MM this season, with a $17MM mutual option (with a $500K buyout) for 2018 and a $20MM club option for 2019 that can vest based on games played.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman is in his last year under contract but the team will give him an extension if he wishes. The same is also true of manager Joe Girardi. The Yankees generally wait until after the season to explore new deals for management, though with the team performing so well, Cashman and Girardi both seem very likely to remain in their current positions.
- The Braves are expected to look into trades for pending free agents such as Jaime Garcia and Brandon Phillips. Both players are performing well, with Phillips on pace for his best overall offensive season since 2011 and Garcia bouncing back ERA-wise (even if his peripherals are somewhat middling) after a disappointing 2016 season.
- Speaking of the Braves’ Garcia, he has hired Michael Moye as his agent. In another representation change, White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia hired Gene Mato in April. For more on who represents who in the baseball world, be sure to check out MLBTR’s Agency Database.
- A rival executive believes Jake Arrieta will get “at least five years” in free agency this winter despite a shaky performance thus far in 2017. Arrieta’s 4.64 ERA over 77 2/3 IP could be in part due to some bad luck (a .319 BABIP, 65.8% strand rate and a spike in his home run rate), though his velocity and ground-ball rates are both down from last season and he is posting his highest hard-hit ball rate since 2010. A sixth guaranteed year could be possible if Arrieta can so easily obtain five years, Heyman reasons, though given the Cubs ace’s struggles and his age (32 next Opening Day), I have my doubts.
- Greg Holland’s outstanding comeback season with the Rockies could put him in line for a free agent deal similar to Mark Melancon’s four-year, $62MM contract with the Giants from last offseason. Scott Boras, Holland’s agent, is aiming even higher, reportedly looking for a deal in the range of the record-setting (for relievers) contracts landed by Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen.
- One Nationals source says the team thinks the Dodgers could be Washington’s biggest competition for Bryce Harper when the star outfielder reaches free agency after the 2018 season. Harper has seemingly been linked to the Yankees for years, though as Heyman notes, Aaron Judge’s emergence in right field could mean that New York instead pursues Manny Machado first among the star-studded 2018-19 free agent class before looking into Harper. Then again, if the Yankees are able to “get below the [luxury tax] threshold, there’s no telling what they may try to do” that winter, given how their tax penalty clock will be reset just as multiple superstar players will hit the open market.